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Full text of "A history of Persia"

234                   HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP.
The   bell   proclaims   the   summons,   " Bind   on   your   burdens,   O
travellers !"
Dark is the night; there is fear of the wave and a dreadful whirlpool ;
How should they know our state, the careless ones on the shore ?
Wilfully ye distort my every deed to my reproach ;
How should that secret remain concealed, when they make it their
common discourse ?
If thou desire her presence, O Hafiz, forsake her not;
And when thou attainest thy desire, quit the world, and let it go.
Jami.—The last great classical poet of Persia, who
flourished in the fifteenth century, was Abdur Rahman,
known by his title of Jami from his birth at the little
town of Turbat-i-Shaykh-Jam, situated between Meshed
and the Afghan frontier.1 Educated at Samarcand, he
repaired to Herat, where he was well received by Ali
Shir, the Maecenas of the age. His fame soon spread
all over the Moslem world, and among his correspondents
was Mohamed II., the captor of Constantinople.
A story still told of Jami runs that he was once visited
by a rival and for three days the poets engaged in a
contest, answering one another in beautiful verse. Jami,
however, inspired by this rivalry, surpassed himself and
reached superhuman heights. The stranger, realizing his
inferiority, was observed to be overcome, his head fell on
his breast, and when called upon to reply he remained
silent—in the silence of death.
Jami's works, like those of Jalal-u-Din, deal chiefly
with moral philosophy and mysticism. Thanks to Fitz-
Gerald, his Salaman and Absal is the best known of his
works, although the translator does not rise to the heights
he reaches elsewhere. Tusuf and Zulaykha is perhaps the
best known of his works in Persia. The story running
through this poem is that Zulaykha, Potiphar's wife, after
tempting Joseph in vain, became blind from weeping, and
Joseph, finding her in this state, prayed that her sight
and beauty might be restored and finally married her.
Sir William Jones translated extracts from the poem, one
of which runs :
In the morning when the raven of night had flown away,
The bird of dawn began to sing;
1 Vide « A Fifth Journey in Persia," Journal Royal Geographical Society, Dec. 1906.